Dance Brigade's Dance Mission Theater


Teacher Bios

Krissy Keefer

Krissy Keefer, Artistic Director

Ms Keefer co-founded the Wallflower Order, the nation's first feminist dance company, in 1975. Wallflower toured the nation for almost a decade, and staged many of Keefer's original pieces before large, enthusiastic and predominantly feminist audiences. She developed a new kind of modern dance-theater that was stylistically rooted in the martial arts, in female athleticism and in social justice issues. In 1980 at age 27 Keefer received her first NEA Choreographers Fellowship. This company toured internationally including a ground breaking collaboration with Grupo Raiz that raised the issues of Central American Solidarity. 1984 she co-founded the Dance Brigade where she continues her explorations of dance-theater that addressed women's issues and concerns. Keefer has received numerous grants and awards, San Francisco Magazine's Arts Achievement Award for Dance, "Goldie" Award from the Bay Guardian, 5 Isadora Duncan Awards. Her work with has been featured in Ballet Tanz, Kung Fu Magazine, Deborah Jowitt's "Dancing Image" among others. She has also been the subject of a documentary for Artist's Eye. Her work around creating a new aesthetic in dance is featured in the book "Warrior Mothers," released in September 2004. Since 1999, Keefer has been the executive director of Dance Mission Theater, a dance school and performance center at 24th and Mission. She has created over 10 full evening length works and many individual pieces. Her "Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie" performed for over 40,000 people and included 500 local artists over its 10 years. She is responsible for teaching, directing, and overall artistic vision of the program.

Vanessa Sanchez

Vanessa Sanchez, Youth Program Director

Vanessa Sanchez is a dancer, educator, and choreographer who focuses on community arts education and multi-cultural dance forms. A Bay Area native, Vanessa has studied and performed throughout the United States, Brazil, and Mexico, creating culturally rooted work that explores the relationship between rhythm and movement. Dancing since the age of 3, her training has included styles such as Tap, Jazz, Son Jarocho, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Bhangra and Bollywood . Vanessa holds a B.A. from San Francisco State University in Child Development and Dance and currently teaches children and adult dance classes with local non-profit arts organizations, including Loco Bloco, Dance Mission, and Performing Arts Workshop. She is also an Artist in Residence in the World Dance Department at San Francisco’s School of the Arts. Vanessa has performed with many groups throughout the Bay Area, including Las Bomberas de la Bahia, Arenas Dance Company, Duniya Dance and Drum Company and Aguas da Bahia. She is the Founder and Director of "La Mezcla," a group that uses rhythmic collaborations to explore cultural traditions and social justice, and has presented work at Bay Area festivals such as CubaCaribe, D.I.R.T and the Xicana Moratorium.


Areyla Moss-Maguire, Grrrl Brigade Director

Areyla Moss-Maguire got her start in circus arts and touring with the famous clown, Patch Adams. She earned a B.A. in Theater Arts and Dance Choreography at UC Santa Cruz and continued on to complete her graduate work in Jacques Lecoq Physical Theater in Barcelona, Spain. Lindy Hop and Swing Dance led her to northern Sweden and London where she danced extensively with the members of Syncopated City Dance Company from NYC. Areyla earned a diploma in contemporary dance at the Copenhagen Contemporary Dance School, Denmark. In addition to working with Dance Mission, she has taught movement and dance at the Copenhagen Film and Theater School, The Theater School, Camp Winnarainbow, Swing Shoes, Performing Arts Workshop, California Shakespeare Theater, and is part of the 2017 cohort with Luna Dance Institute. Areyla has performed on stages all over the world, from Latin America to Africa, and is currently dancing with the We Players and Kim Epifano's Epiphany Productions.

Fredrika Keefer

Fredrika Keefer, Youth Program Registrar and Teacher

Fredrika is a Hip Hop, Ballet, Contemporary and Traditional Japanese Taiko drumming teacher. She is currently a member of Dance Brigade And Alayo Dance company. Born and raised in San Francisco's Mission district, Fredrika started her dance training at age 5. When she was 14 years old, she started her hip-hop dance training with the well-renowned choreographer and Mind Over Matter’s director, Allan Frias. She proceeded to dance with his company for 6 years. Since then, she has worked with choreographers such as Kim Epifano, Anne Bluethenthal, Christy Funch, Krissy Keefer, Ramon Ramos Alayo, just to name a few. Fredrika’s broaden experiences have brought her to travel to teach and perform nationally and internationally (Ukiah, Oregon, New York, Cuba, Lebanon, Egypt, and St. Maarteen).

Debbie Taylor

Debbie Taylor, Teacher

Debbie Taylor moves in the whirld as a dancer, taiko drummer, teacher, ASL interpreter and activist. She currently teaches dance improvisation and composition as a faculty member of the Lines Ballet School. She has taught modern dance in San Francisco, Berlin, Santa Fe and around the U.S. She has both taught and performed with the National Theater of the Deaf. Debbie choreographs her own work, and has danced with Bay Area choreographers Sara Shelton Mann, Kim Epifano, Dance Brigade, Scott Wells and Dancers, Company Chaddick, and others. Nationally and internationally she has toured with David Rousseve/Reality, and with Dance Berlin. She trained extensively in taiko with Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo and with Jimi Nakagawa. She apprenticed with Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble and has performed with Taiko Ren for the last 16 years. Debbie teaches and composes taiko/dance pieces for the Dance Brigade’s youth programs.

Marivel Mendoza

Marivel Mendoza, Teacher

Marivel Mendoza began her dance career 13 years ago at Dance Mission, graduating from the GRRRL Brigade program in 2014. Following graduation from School of the Arts San Francisco with a dance discipline, she is continuing her training at SF State, working towards a B.A. in Dance with an education minor. She has been working most recently with Dance Brigade, as has performed withe then at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and at Summer Feast in Dos Rios. She currently teaches Modern Jazz in the Dance Mission youth program, focusing on girl empowerment within the classroom; teaching self confidence through movement.

Brandie Norris

Brandie Norris, Teacher

Brandie is a dancer, Hip Hop teacher and San Francisco Native. She trained as a gymnast in her youth, inspiring her to be the dancer she is today, and found the courage to perform in front of large crowds as a High School Cheerleader. Brandie teaches youth dance classes at Dance Mission, TruDance and private Hip Hop lessons in San Francisco. She has danced in various music videos and has performed with many choreographers, including the Sarah Bush Dance Project. Currently, Brandie performs with Allan Frias’ ‘Mind Over Matter,’ is an honorary member of the Bay Area house of Vogue ‘House of Prolific’ and takes classes at the Community Music Center. She believes that the more you involve yourself in your art form, the more you become one with the Universe.

Mallory Markham

Mallory Markham, Teacher

Mallory Markham grew up dancing around the South East before obtaining her BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Oklahoma where she danced for the Oklahoma Festival Ballet as well as Contemporary Dance Oklahoma. While attending Oklahoma, she had the privilege to be under the tutelage of great dancers like Violette Verdy, Dudley Williams, Frederic Franklin, Helen Simoneau, and many others. Mallory also had the opportunity to perform in George Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15 as well as Merce Cunningham’s Inlets II. After graduation, she relocated to Columbus Ohio where she danced with contemporary ballet company, Columbus Dance Theatre, for a season before moving to the West Coast. Since moving to the Bay Area, Mallory has danced for and collaborated with various local companies and choreographers including Kristin Damrow and Company, Blind Tiger Society, Inside Out Contemporary Ballet, Garrett + Moulton Productions, Twisted Oak Dance Theater, The Anata Project, Ka.nei.see|Collective, Amy Seiwert, and Robert Moses. Mallory is currently studying to become a certified Pilates instructor and enjoys sharing her love of dance at studios around the Bay.

Emma Miller

Emma Miller, Teacher

Emma is a San Francisco native who began dancing at Dance Mission at the age of 3. She is a graduate of the Grrrl Brigade program and attended the Dance program at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. Before becoming a teacher, she trained as a youth program teaching assistant for four years. Currently, Emma attends the University of San Francisco where she is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Performing Arts and Social Justice with a focus in Dance. She has performed in dance festivals including CubaCaribe and Summer Feast, and continues to perform with Dance Brigade.

Ramon Ramos Alayo

Ramón Ramos Alayo, Choreographer and Teacher

Ramón is a Cuban-born dancer, teacher, choreographer, is well known for his forceful performances and bold choreographic vision. Well versed in both Afro-Cuban modern and folkloric genres, Ramos is fearless in both his dance and choreographic style. At the age of eleven, Ramos was selected by the Cuban government to study dance in Santiago de Cuba and later earned a master's degree in contemporary and folkloric dance and dance education from Havana's National School of Art. He was the principal dancer with Compa–'a Teatro de la Danza del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba and Narciso Medina Contemporary Dance Company in Havana, where he was ranked one of the top modern dancers and toured throughout Cuba, Europe, Canada, Belize and the U.S. Since leaving Cuba 1997, he has performed with some of the most respected choreographers in the Bay Area, including Robert Henry Johnson, Kim Epifano, Sara Shelton Mann, Joanna Haigood, Robert Moses and Krissy Keefer. Ramón Ramos Alayo has directed and produced seven full-length performances including Anora–za de Una Epoca (1999), Mis Sue–os, Mis Ideas (2003, 2004); A Piece of White Cloth (2004, 2005, 2009); La Madre (2005); After Rain (2006); Three Threes & Traces (2007); and his latest full-length choreography, Blood + Sugar (2008). Ramón Ramos Alayo has received grants including: CASH (2005); Zellerbach Family Foundation (2005, 2006, 2007); LEF Foundation (2005); and San Francisco Arts Commission (2008). Ramos was also awarded the prestigious Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation's "Emerging Choreographer Award" (2005). In 2003 Ramos co-founded and became artistic director of the renowned annual CubaCaribe Festival of Dance and Music. Since 2004 he continues to teach and choreograph for the Grrrl Brigade, Dance Mission's program for dance, self-empowerment and leadership for girls 9 - 18.

Bruce Ghent

Bruce "Mui" Ghent, Taiko Master

Bruce earned a degree in Modern Dance/Choreography from California Institute of the Arts in 1990 and went on to perform with notable dance and theater companies such as Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co. and Berkeley Repertory Theater. He began his study of Taiko under Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka in 1993, where as a principal member of the San Francisco Taiko Dojo he toured internationally and performed with some of the great masters of Traditional Japanese Folk Music. Currently, he serves as resident Taiko Instructor/Composer at Dance Mission for Grrrl Brigade, and Dance Brigade for whom his work was nominated for a 2000-2001 Isadora Duncan Award. In October 2010 he will curate the 3rd annual Harvest Moon Taiko Festival at Dance Mission Theater.

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